I plan to get into “Octavarium” anytime soon, I really intend to find out where that album lies in the D.T. scale of character and musicality. Chances are that the album is going to be among the best to be released this year, but you see, there’s this one album that won’t leave, postponing my move to D.T. awe-ness, its name be “Enigmatic: Calling”.
From the Black Metal jungle of Norway, PAGANS MIND came literally out of nowhere and shook the European scene (and beyond) with “Infinity Divine” and the Prog scorching follow up “Celestial Entrance”. Neither time nor success have slowed the band in their quest to raise awareness about how to create the perfect mix of Heavy Progressive Metal with mystical atmospheres and electric high pitched vocals, they’re basically here to let their motto shine like it never shined before with their third album.
Maybe just a little too conceptually far fetched in their lyrics and engaging too much in recycled song titles… and falling into the clichéd franchise of having a utterly boring fantasy mascot (their celestial female watcher/rescuer/prophetess is a nice break from the thousands of dragon slayers out there but clichéd none the less), the band around vocal beacon Nils K. Rue have brought some fresh song writing to the table again but never shy away from letting their musical influences show in the songs remaining the DREAM THEATER/FATES WARNING dream child they’ll always be if they don’t make any drastic changes in the near future, like not recording anything at a studio that has the name Images & Words Studios, which they did for this album hehe. I liked “Celestial Entrance” but this one I like even more, the songs are tighter, the sound is bigger, there is simply more of everything on this record yet it doesn’t sound too technical or confusing.
Those who dig the detailed mastery of present BLIND GUARDIAN and DREAM THEATER best ready both ears for plunging atmospheres, racing melodies and solos and a handful of technical hooks. Scattered between the Prog arrangements are a few old school passages (some of which can be labelled as Aggressive Thrash Metal passages) as can be heard on tracks like “Enigmatic Mission” and “Supremacy, Our Kind”, they also seem to have injected some more hard rocking guitar parts, but the real drive in this pearl of an album is the emblazing and colourful entwining of bass’n’drums, guitars’n’keys and majestic vocals culminating in what is undoubtedly the ascending future blueprint of Progressive Metal. Alone handling the guitar duties on this album, Jørn Viggo Lofstad has no problems in attacking and shredding his axe a little more, the absence of previous rhythm guitarist Thorstein Aaby is hardly noticeable.
Nils’ clear vox ranges climb higher notes than most of Power Metal’s current elite, surpassing even Timo Kotipelto. The blonde haired Finn definitely has him beaten in the imaginative aspect of vocal talents, Rue doesn’t have the same varied tone, the half growled voice he had going on the last album could’ve added that dynamic edge he’s lacking on “Enigmatic: Calling”, rather experiment with his voice than just focusing on sharpening this clean delivery, but what the hell, it suits the music so who am I to bitch.
Musically the album is ahead of its predecessor, their sound has definitely been pushed further, like I said, there are more fresh ideas and even more surprises to discover which makes “Enigmatic: Calling” a joy to spin over and over again. (Online September 2, 2005)